Drs. Steve Benson and Mark and Brit Carlson welcomed Melissa Friedrichsen to the practice at the end of May, and Rachael Johnson joined the Valley "team" as a full-time DVM on June 8.
Melissa is a native Cherokean who has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was in the fifth grade, and worked at Valley Vet during her high school years. The daughter of Mark and Sue Perrin of Cherokee is a 2000 graduate of Washington High School who earned her Bachelors degree in Animal Science and then her Veterinary degree - in May of 2008 - from Iowa State University.
She worked at the Holstein office of the Ida Grove Veterinary Clinic for a year prior to her return to Valley Vet this summer. Melissa's dad feeds cattle, as does her husband, Dale Friedrichsen. She and Dale live on a farm south of Holstein, and were joined four months ago by their new baby son, Jonathan. The couple also has two horses on their place, and Melissa said she enjoys working with equines, too. For now, at least, with the happy addition of Jonathan to the family, Melissa is only working at Valley Vet once a week, on Tuesdays. She is working primarily with small animals at this time, but with her background with cattle and her love of horses, she would certainly not be opposed to working with these larger animals as well.
Rachael Johnson also grew up on a farm, near the small town of Bristol, South Dakota. She earned her Bachelors degree in Animal Science from South Dakota State, then attended Kansas State University for four years to study veterinary medicine. She received her veterinary degree on May 15 of this year.
Rachael grew up on a Holstein replacement heifer farm, and said that as a child she discovered pretty early on that she would rather work with the cattle than be in the field. She worked at the Western, S.D. Vet Clinic for several years when she was a teenager, and considers the staff there to be her "mentors" in the veterinary field. Rachael is working primarily with large animals in her practice at Valley Vet, and her long-term ambition, she said, is to help cattle producers in managing the "whole gamut" of cow-calf production.